Thank you to everyone who supported and participated in the It’s Okay campaign for August.
I really enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you each day and hopefully it brought some inspiration and/or motivation to you all.
With everything going on in the world, I felt everyone could use a reminder that it is okay not to be okay sometimes. We are human and humans feel a wide range of emotions. All of which are okay. Why?
Because our emotions are our guidance system, they offer us a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we interact with the world. They are valuable and essential to our growth. That is their value. One that is often overlooked. My hope is that putting the spotlight on each throughout the month has added to their value and perhaps assisted in understanding and growth.
Moving forward, I will be less present daily on my blog, but for a good cause. I have decided to take the time I was utilizing each morning before work and in my free time to finishing my next book. I set a deadline of completion for myself of Fall of 2020, but as everyone has experienced…nothing seems to go as planned this year!
I am still going to try my best to finish it yet this year, but in order to do that, I will be stepping away from my other writing projects & platforms in the meantime. I will try to share pieces with you along the way and thank you in advance for your patience.
This next book, the sequel to Insane Roots, has been challenging emotionally and sharing it with the world will require more courage than anything I’ve ever written. It will be a bit risky, but I can only hope it will be received warmly, with the knowledge that it was written from the heart, without malice and only with good intentions.
When we feel frustrated it is usually a pretty good indicator that something is out of alignment. Whether it be something or someone, the best course of action is usually to take a step back and evaluate.
I get frustrated when I don’t know how to do something or if I can’t seem to get it after multiple tries. The root of it for me is having felt unworthy for many years. It may seem silly, but it’s true.
It took some time to self-diagnose, however now when I am frustrated it could not be clearer where those feelings are coming from and how to address them. In those moments, it would do no good to push myself to continue. I must instead, take a step back and offer reassurance to the damaged part within, to nurture the part of me that is still healing from my past. The result is that frustration becomes an opportunity for healing and growth.
The next time you are frustrated, pause for a second and consider that there may be something larger at play. It’s okay to feel frustrated. Like any emotion, it can be very clarifying and beneficial for self-improvement.
Crying is beneficial to you physically and mentally. It is the body’s way of finding release. If we bottle up our sadness, it won’t go away. It will only come out in another form.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me not to cry. To buck it up and push through it. For her, crying was used as a tool, not an expression. I learned to shove the pain I was feeling deep down, never to speak of it again. And it really screwed me up for a long time.
By the time I was a teenager, I was in so much pain with no idea how to express it or myself that I became bitter, needy, and angry. It was a real challenge. One I am better for now, but it’s been a long road to here. What saved me was finding a way to creatively express myself. I channeled my pain into writing mostly, but art as well.
I often say I wrote my memoir through tears and I really did. Even during the final editing and review, I would be sobbing as I revisited my own words. All the pain from my childhood finally had an outlet and allowing those tears to flow was the best thing I could have done for myself. It was a way to release myself from all the sorrows of the past and forgive. It was so freeing.
I mean this in two ways. The first is obvious, meaning that it is okay if you just need a day or a moment to do nothing, to be present. There is great power in the now.
For me, many times those moments have led to life-changing reflections that rightfully changed my path. That is one of the many benefits of meditation. I don’t know about you, but there are a million thoughts racing around my mind at any given time. Quieting the mind allows me to filter through the noise and just be content with what is.
Whether you are living the life you want or not, the first step in changing it is accepting it for what it is.
By doing so, we become better able to see the patterns in our behavior that we may have been oblivious to. Patterns of behavior that may have contributed to what we are currently experiencing.
I remember when I was young, I always felt like people were out to get me in some way or that I just always seemed to get the bum deal somehow and there was no way to change it. Oh poor pitiful me…
That wasn’t the case at all. The reality was that I was responsible for a great deal of it. I was so convinced that what I thought was happening was, that I ended up creating drama that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
After all, “a belief is just a thought you keep thinking” (Hicks).
It wasn’t that people were always going away. It was because I was pushing them away.
It wasn’t that everyone was lying to me. It was because I wasn’t able to trust.
And I could go on, but I won’t.
The point is that it ties into #2.
If we are unable to identify the patterns of our own behavior that may be causing situations like what I described above to happen, then it is very likely that we are reacting to things rather than responding. One of those is rooted in rational thought and the other is weighed down by our own expectations and insecurities.
The truth is that the story we tell ourselves determines our behavior. When we are struggling, it may be our reaction to lash out at those closest to us, whether it is warranted or not. We are clouded by our own suffering and therefore feel justified in some way when we are not.
And in many cases, if we ourselves are stuck in an unhealthy mindset, we will make assumptions that are not only not true, but just end up making our situation worse. Feeling unable to feel better on our own, we put the responsibility on to someone else. This is not only unfair, but it leaves little room for personal growth. There comes a time in our lives when the only way to move forward to a better feeling place is to take responsibility for the life we are living now.
We all have lows in life and it’s okay to lean on our friends for support, but when they become more of a punching bag than someone to talk to, you are taking advantage of that friendship.
The first few times we attack them for reasons we feel are justified, they may excuse it out of an understanding that we are going through a bad time and that our anger simply found the easiest target. They love us and so they take it and move on.
But at some point, it becomes frustrating, exhausting even, for them to never know what will set us off. That is when allowing the behavior becomes contributing to it and there is no benefit in that for anyone involved.
I am a very loyal person, almost to a fault. I allow people a lot more leeway in how they treat me than I should. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong and if I have rightfully done something undesirable to another, I will absolutely own it. After all, we all make mistakes, it’s part of being human.
But there is also another part of me, one that has grown a great deal over the last few years, one that has begun to even the mental playing ground if you will.
I’ve always been that person who will take your sh!t, for lack of a better word. I’ll even let you rub my face in it a time or two (as Mama Della would say!), but there will come a day when I reach my breaking point. It might be something little that lands at the tippy top of all the bull sh!t from the past, but that will be all it takes. From that point forward, things will never be the same.
And you will know I’ve reached that point by the way I respond, I won’t. Something in me will have changed. It is no longer acceptable for them to treat me that way (even though it never really was).
The overreactions and unkind words no longer carry validity or warrant a response. What would have once roused me, will simply be dismissed.
I may not walk away, but I am surely no longer going to participate. The desire to fight has fled. Once you’ve been there, done that a million times before and you realize that it will surely happen again, the understanding comes that it is just better to do nothing.
Time has proven that any response would simply be feeding the beast they are carrying inside and if you truly do care for them, you will let it starve.
Sometimes the path to healing is not getting what you want. It’s pushing the limits of close relationships and losing your way. It’s hitting rock bottom and accepting that you are the one who put yourself there.
And sometimes the best help you can offer to someone is doing nothing at all.
In working on phase II in the Insane Roots memoir series, I have gone back and revisited some of the most devastating moments in my life. Some of which, were so damaging that I had almost completely blocked them out of my mind.
Breaking down the walls has been challenging to say the least, but it has also brought back a great deal of beautiful memories as well and reminded me of the many milestones that have had an extensive impact on who I am today.
As you can imagine, my journals as a teenager were centered mostly around boys & the fact that no one understood me. It’s hard not to laugh at myself, but it’s all about perspective and back then I had very little experience with life.
And for that reason, I don’t think I had a very good idea of what love really was back then either. Mostly because I realize now that I didn’t love myself and until that happens I am not sure you are really able to love someone else fully. It takes a lot to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the possibility that the object of your affection may not return the gaze.
My past relationships were no cake walk, let me tell you!! With the exception of a very small handful of the men I have dated, the majority of them treated me like dirt.
They claimed to love me, but if they did, there would be no way in the world they would have behaved the way they did.
It wasn’t until well after high school that I can honestly say I felt real love and it was reciprocated at that! It was clear then that all those who had come before were merely practice for the real thing. And although that relationship didn’t work out as planned, it worked out the way it was supposed to.
I was shattered for a while when we broke up, but I think anyone would be after having been with someone for as long as we were together.
Eventually, I put myself back out into the dating pool again and well….Ya it didn’t pan out the best. So…almost 3 years ago, I took myself back off the market (“closed for remodeling” as I called it).
I knew there was something in me that I needed to repair before I was ready to get back out there again. I was clearly attracting the wrong type of men and allowing them to treat me like the ones in the past did.
Again, it was my own self worth standing in my way. I didn’t believe I deserved a different kind of relationship; one where the love goes both ways.
I also think that deep down, I am still battling with the feeling that perhaps I just don’t believe that anyone could actually love me. I mean all of me…right down to the crazy!
I know that it’s silly, but even now there is a lump in my throat as I think about it. And it causes me to overthink everything…this constant state of worry that breeds unhealthy habits.
Habits of self defeating behavior, the need for reassurance & fear.
Sometimes I really am my worst enemy!
I’m stopping that!
From here on out, I am going to focus on the fact that I have someone with whom I love spending time with & perhaps it will grow into something more & perhaps it won’t.
Maybe he’ll feel the same or maybe he won’t, but either way when I am with him I’m happy and for now that is enough.
Overthinking where it’s going just leads to unnecessary pressure and a ton of needless worry!
I’d rather be thankful than fearful, so that is just what I’m going to do!!